Heavyweight Division

1. Fedor Emelianenko (31-1, 1 NC)



The Russian cyborg's reign seems to be never ending. The only thing that has slowed him down has been contract talks between Strikeforce and M-1 Global, but he will be getting back on CBS to take on BJJ World Champ Fabricio Werdum this summer.

2. Brock Lesnar (4-1)


Nobody knows how much Lensar's illness and time away from MMA will affect his overall game. It will either assert itself in ring rust or, the far scarier possibility, that he used the extended recovery time to improve his skills in a sport he has only been in for three years.
There is a decent chance that when Brock Lesnar defends his title against Shane Carwin this summer it could be the best we've ever seen and that scares the crap out of me.

3. Cain Velasquez (8-0)


Many see Velasquez as a future champion at heavyweight and I would have to agree, he is an excellent wrestler: a great top game and an emerging skill set off his back and amazing advanced striking, Velasquez put an exclamation point on his entry to heavyweight elites with his quick finish of an MMA legend, Big Nog.

4. Shane Carwin (12-0)


Carwin's KO victory over Frank Mir was likely the highlight of UFC 111, and while impressive we don't know any more about Carwin after the fight than we did before.
The same facts and questions remain: Carwin hits like a Mac Truck, Carwin is a good wrestler, but does he have the cardio go into championship rounds? Will he ever need to go into those rounds? One big positive is that dirty boxing he showed off will come in handy against Lesnar.

5. Junior dos Santos (11-1)


In what appears to be a dawning age of super sized heavyweights, dos Santos is often characterized as a small fighter. While it is true, he doesn't command the same mass as the UFC fighters ranked above him, at 6'4" he is tallest and likely the fastest and packs a huge amount of power. We have yet to see his ground game, but given his camp it will likely be better than expected.

6. Frank Mir (13-5)


The former champ seems to be struggling with identity. Frank Mir has been called 'the most intelligent heavyweight on the ground' but recently Mir has fashioned himself a striker, from KOing Nog, to throwing a flying knee against Lensar, to KOing Kongo and trying to stand with Carwin Mir has lived and died with the stand up game recently. In my opinion, Mir needs to go back to his Jiu-Jitsu to get back into title contention, but only time will tell.

7. Brett Rogers (10-1)


Young, powerful and not afraid of a fight, Rogers is looking to bounce back in a big way from his loss to Fedor by taking the long dominate Strikeforce heavyweight belt from Alistair Overeem. Rogers likely took the Fedor fight too soon in his career, and still has plenty of time to work his way to an elite level but a loss to Overeem could be real dent in his career.

8. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-6-1, 1 NC)


The living heavyweight legend is likely facing the end of his career and could very well be starting a Randy Couture-like fair well tour and then transitioning to full time coaching. Its clear Nog doesn't have the boxing to hang with the new breed of heavyweights and his chin has been worn down after years of punishment.

9. Andrei Arlovski (15-7)


Arlovski still has some of the best striking in the heavyweight division and but still has likely one of the worst chins in all of MMA. He could make some noise in Strikeforce but won't ever hold a significant title again.

10. Fabricio Werdum (13-4-1)


Werdum is here really by virtue of the heavyweight division being so shallow, great ground game but really lacking in standup. He is likely going to get stomped by Fedor, but who knows maybe he can pull a submission out of the hat and end the Russian's dominance over the division.
Honorable Mentions: Roy Nelson, Alistair Overeem

by Tom Grant




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